Advice for Writers · Andshelaughs · andshelaughs writing · Art of LIving · books · Canadian Writers · Creative Life · Creative Writing · Creativity · Fearless Living · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Healthy Living · Inspiration · Joyful Living · Living · Middle Age · Midlife · Opinion · Perspective · Professional Writers · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · The Art of Living · Travel Writers · Uncategorized · Whole Living · Writers · Writing · Writing Inspiration · writing prompts

Making Room in My Jeans for Enchantment

distractionBecause of my inability to focus, my jeans are getting snug.

As in, I’ve gone beyond muffin-top to mid-section-souffle. I’ve been home a lot lately, and although I’m busy as stink caregiving, I have lots of time on my hands while I stay up way too late and overthink everything.

Today, while having a meltdown (likely a bloodsugar low), I ate another of my beautifully decorated sugar cookies, gave myself a tummy-ache and got to thinking while I laid down to sweat it out. Perhaps I should just really focus on what makes me feel good.

And what is that?

Well, it’s my writing, my inspiration, or ‘enchantment’ as Elizabeth Gilbert refers to it in her book, Big Magic, (a book every creative soul needs).  Given that my nervous baking habit has made me pack on pounds and feel like crap since I’ve been at home for the past number of weeks, I couldn’t help but listen when my nauseous tummy and tight waistband went from a whisper to a scream; “QUIT BAKING THIS SHIT!!!”…and in a much more kind, caring voice, “Do what you love sweetheart.”

One idea from Big Magic that stuck with me the first time I read the book is,

However, I’ve always had the sense that the muse of the tormented artist – while the artist himself is throwing temper tantrums – is sitting quietly in a corner of the studio, buffing its fingernails, patiently waiting for the guy to calm down and sober up so everyone can get back to work.”

I have a lot of interests; baking, cooking, reading, writing, yoga, gardening, being an enthusiastic sports mom…and the list goes on. These are the equivalent of my temper tantrums. Convincing myself that I don’t have enough time to write is akin to a temper tantrum.

I’m so funny.

I have time to do most of my hobbies, except write.  Why??? the only explanation I can come up with is that my upbringing as a hard-working-protestant-country-girl saves the best for last. “I’ll write after I…..” And then the day is finished. I have no energy left for the good stuff.

It’s hard to think of a tortured artist baking and decorating cookies, but it’s my very civilized-flirting-with-diabetes form of torment. But it is no more. No more half-hearted attempts at making slippers, meringues, paintings, blankets or any other whim I get snagged on while cruising Pinterest.  No more tummy aches and sugar lows. No more cursing myself for my jeans getting even smaller.

In Big Magic, Ms. Gilbert talks about enchantment, and whether you meet it with the resistance of the stereotypical tortured artist or like gracious host who makes room for it.

I’m going to try and be the gracious host. And that includes not wearing pants that are way too tight.

Advice for Women · books · Empty Nest · Feminism · Feminist Culture · Feminists · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Lean In Girl Stuff · Middle Age · Midlife · New Feminism · Personal Development · Professional Women · Social Commentary · Society · The New Feminism · Uncategorized · women · Women's Issues · Women's Rights · Working Women

Are You There God? It’s Me. Where’s Margaret?

itsmemargaretFinding your father’s copy of Playboy. Playing two-minutes-in-the-closet. Wearing a bra for the first time. Buying your first maxi-pads.

Those were all of the things that made 11 year old Margaret Simon’s  character so relatabel in Judy Blume’s  ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’.

I can’t remember who lent me the book, but I do remember hiding it from my parents and older sister.  Although the book was a decade behind (those girls had to wear belts with their pads),  it was as a staple in my generation’s pre-teen reading diet.  It was our porn.

Wanting to know about my changing body and emotions wasn’t easy. I was shy, a bookworm and a tomboy who was raised in a body-shaming-Baptist family.  Ballsy Margaret who crushed on Phillip and bought her own pads  from a boy cashier, was my hero.

How things have changed.

After having spent my adult years fully loaded up on contraception, today was the day that I would have my Mirena removed. This morning I stood in the drugstore looking at a wall of pads, tampons, and Diva Cups wondering just what the hell I was going to need. I would have loved to have had Margaret’s advice.

croneI no longer need birth control. What I need is to return to my feminine body. To experience the shift from motherhood to new-cronehood with some modicum of respect for the awesome female form that I inhabit.

I am from a generation of women who have been convinced that our natural cycles should be stunted. We are being convinced that unless we want to get pregnant, we need to saddle up on hormones and keep a constant, obedient level of functioning that does not include paying attention to the natural rhythm of our bodies to stop, rest, rage, weep and rejoice. We have been twisted into she-men.

If I could do it all over again, I would do it like a woman, and not try to be the she-man that our you-can-have-it-all-girl-boss-culture would like me to buy into. I would get pregnant again and rejoice in my body. I would revel in my sexuality. I would do so many things differently with regard to my divine feminine.

Much like young Margaret’s character, I’m wondering about what will happen next. Except I’m in my mid-forties.

I’m noticing changes in my body; less firm, more round, a greater comfort with my own self when I look in the mirror after I slip out of my clothes and into the hot bathwater.

I wonder what happened to ballsy, Margaret when she hit forty? I’d sure like to hear from her now.

Advice for Women · Art of LIving · Book Reviews · books · Creative Life · Fearless Living · Feminism · Feminist Culture · Feminists · Girl Stuff · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Healthy Living · Joyful Living · Lean In Girl Stuff · Life · Life Lessons · Living · Meaning of Life · Mindful Living · New Feminism · Professional Women · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · The Art of Living · The New Feminism · Toronto Life · Uncategorized · Whole Living · women · Women's Issues · Women's Issues · Women's March on Washington · Women's Rights · Working Women

Do Not Wash the Floor: Putting on Your Big Hat

tiredwomanDoes it amaze you that the people you live with (aka your family) know where to go get stuff but they can’t remember how to put it away? It kind of makes you twitch doesn’t it? The high level of frustration which comes with lack of respect for your  time.

If I took a survey of all of my women-friends and asked how they were feeling, most of them would answer the same way; Tired.

I’m tired.

Fatigue. It seems to be a running theme among women in their 40’s. Most are smack in the middle of feeling the pressure of their long-forgotten wild selves tugging relentlessly at their heart-strings.  We’re now in the middle of our  lifetime on this earth, and we can feel it in our bones.

We can feel it slip away every time that we clean up someone else’s mess, and every time we sweep the floor.

Time seems to have accelerated just as we need things to slow down.  Something inside of us feels like it needs to be uncaged.  If we listen hard enough, we can hear our goddess call out from deep down in the dark visceral places of our suppressed soul: Let me out!

How the hell do we do that?!

We must use our precious energy to build firm boundaries and defend them with (and for) our lives. For the majority of women, the idea of leaving work, taking time to rediscover and recover their passions is an impossible ideal.  Yet, we must take time away to listen to our own intuition.

Another way to strengthen connection to intuition is to refuse to allow anyone to repress your vivid energies…that means your opinions, your thoughts, your ideas, your values, your morals, your ideals.

I’m a woman of strength and courage, and I even find that carving out time for this self-care is a tug-of-war. We all know that days off are filled with domestic chores which women are expected to do; organizing, planning and preparing meals, laundry, the never-ending business of tidying and picking up miscellaneous crap.

One day, years later, after washing the kitchen and living room floors by hand, she slipped into her very best silk blouse, buttoned her long skirt, and pinned on her big hat.  She pressed her husband’s shotgun to the roof of her mouth and pulled the trigger. Every woman alive knows why she washed the floors first.

Taking time to refresh your spirit in the privacy of your own thoughts is essential. Understanding where those thoughts are coming from, helps to understand why we’re so damn tired.

During busy times, creative pursuits may be put on hold, and our time even more precious. For these times, I reach for a book. A few minutes of quiet time to read words of wisdom from other women always sustains me.

For the these important moments during the day when you get to nourish your divine feminine, I suggest a few good reads;

  1. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  2. Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy
  3. Women & Power by Mary Beard
  4. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes ( I confess, I can’t get enough of this book right now…reading and re-reading)
  5. Living Beautifully with Uncertainty & Change by Pema Chodrun

Whatever you do, do not wash the floors. Let someone else take a turn.

Put on your best silk blouse, button up your skirt, put on your big hat and go out into the world.

We need one another at this time in our lives more than ever before ladies, and we need to see our courage and hunger for life reflected back to us by our peers when we aren’t feeling that courageous ourselves.

All quotes taken from Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
Advice for Men · Advice for Women · Argument · Book Reviews · books · Creative Life · Feminism · Feminist Culture · Feminists · Girl Stuff · Lean In · Lean In Girl Stuff · Life · Life Lessons · Meaning of Life · Men's Issues · Mental Health · New Feminism · Personal Development · Professional Women · Social Commentary · The New Feminism · Uncategorized · women · Women's Issues · Women's Issues · Women's Rights · Working Women

The Machine & Fierce Women

3x1wupaksuqncThe Machine and How it Works….an interesting string of thoughts in a book by  Thomas L. Freidman, Thank you For Being Late. Basically he talks about a writer being certain or at least having a theory about how the world works.

After dating someone I would consider to be a privileged male for a while, it’s clear to me that The Machine works way better for him than I. Dating a hearty feminist has not been easy for him, what, with me calling him on his sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant misogynistic bullshit.

But this isn’t a post about relationships. Not in the romantic way anyway. It’s about how the machine works for women. A shout out to my non-binary friends here; The Machine doesn’t work in your favour either.

What got me thinking about this was the suggestion that I provide a list of the cosmetics that I prefer to use.  This, after squeezing my belly fat and asking when I was going to the gym.

Answer to the first; whatever’s on sale. Answer to the second; none of your fucking business.

What does all of this personal interaction tell us about The Machine? The Machine is rigged to keep us submissive. It takes more energy (in the form of money) to buy our basic grooming products (soap, razors, feminine hygiene products).  We bear the judgement of society with regard to child-rearing, house-pride and keeping ourselves looking unrealistically young. And that’s just the beginning.

I shouldn’t say “we”, because I count myself and many of my friends among the witches and wise women; I honour my age and my experience, and I have no fear of poking a stick in the gears of the machine in order to bring your attention to it’s flaws.

That the leader of the free world was elected after condoning sexual assault, only reinforces the fact that The Machine works for the privileged male and the women who slip silently into their role as concubines to the system.

This Christmas, don’t let someone shame you because you don’t spend your hard earned dollars on cosmetic products with a label that do the same thing as those you can buy at the local store (if you use them at all). Ask for books, hell, ask for whatever you want, just don’t be a slave to The Machine, and don’t be a slave to fighting it either.

Instead, continue as if The Machine doesn’t exist. Live freely, with grace and integrity, but don’t be afraid to give the world the finger every now and then either. Being fierce is a feminine as it gets.

 

 

 

Advice for Writers · Andshelaughs · Art · books · Canadian Writers · Chapters · Death · Dying · Ernest Hemingway · Feminism · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Heming Way · Hemingway · hemingway in love · Life · Living · Meaning of Life · Perspective · Writers

Uncorked Part 1: A Little Of the Heming-Way Becomes Her

heming wayWhatever story you buy about the character of Ernest Hemingway, you have to admit that he’s a hell of a writer. He lived a remarkably interesting life, and didn’t pull any punches.

Personally, I find the stories and myths about his life fascinating. Maybe it’s the era within which he lived, keeping company with Picasso, the Fitzgerald’s, and the fascinating Gertrude Stein.

Maybe I just love men who are assholes. That could very well be it.

There have been books written, tongue-in-cheek, on the ‘Heming-Way’; How to be a manly man.  In case you can’t read the font, the cover of the book reads; “How to unleash the booze-inhaling, animal-slaughtering, war-glorifying, hairy-chested, retro-sexual legend within, Just Like Papa!”

After reading Hemingway in Love, I fell in love (writer to writer of course darlings) a little more with Mr. Hemingway.  This from a woman who has written in his old haunts in Havana and Paris, France.

You see, the book is a tale of regret regarding lost love. Or rather, love pissed away by ego and, well, that’s it.  Just ego.

Spoiler alert; during a twilight-years  discussion with his dear pal F.Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway admits to the failure of his grand affair (basically he left his first wife whom he met, fell in love with and married while he was a nobody, for a spoiled rich girl who got whatever she wanted, including Papa). inlove

I made a mistake with Pauline, that’s all. A goddam fatal mistake….No mater what they tell you about reliving the past, it’s not a bridge…She tried to use her wealth to connect us, but it just put me off. I’d made it on my own and I had to keep it that way.

Ahh, yes, there you have it. “I’d made it on my own“.

So many women have made it on their own, in spite of….

…you name it; sexual abuse, poverty, physical abuse. Whatever it is, choose your poison.

Others have not had to face such adversity, and so, they have never had the necessity of having to cultivate their inner Heming-way; toughening up with no one to pour their pink champagne or hold them while they cry.

I for one have never had a father (brother, husband, uncle…..) look out for my best interest or protect his little girl. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done on my own and under my own steam.

Women who have had to walk with their heads held up high, without the benefit of daddy, husband or family-money funded Louboutin’s know what it’s like to have to maintain some rough edges in order to cut through the barbed-wire of independent life.

Kindness matters, yet sometimes a lady has to know when to drop an f-bomb to get the fair result of her efforts. A little booze-inhaling, retro-sexuality can go a long way as a salve to the harsh reality of single living, and letting the silver-spoon-in-mouth born crowd know that you mean business, and have the balls to carry that business out.

As Hemingway allegedly said, reliving the past is not a bridge. We all live, and we all learn. Bridges burn and crumble.

The Her-heming-way’s among us know what it’s like to cry yourself to sleep and plaster on a smile in the morning so you can bring home the bacon. They know that reliving the past is definitely not a bridge , and they’re glad that it’s not.

To all of the Her-Heming-Way ladies out there,  I salute you.